Chicago, Illinois, United States
Conceived to stand out as a visual centerpiece, this skyscraper enlists a number of locally relevant details to provide scale and emphasize verticality. Occupying a full block in San Francisco’s Financial District, the complex — now named 555 California Street — consists of a 52-story tower, a glass banking-hall pavilion with galleries on two levels, and a four-level base. The tower itself contains 1.5 million square feet of floor area.
One of the tallest buildings on the city skyline, the tower features a faceted polished-carnelian-granite facade with bronze-tinted glass and irregular setbacks. The bay windows, a San Francisco idiom, give scale and texture to the building and blend with the granite, forming a continuous and sparkling surface. Upper-floor setbacks impart a sculptural quality, recalling the jagged rock formations of the Sierra Nevada. A restaurant on the top floor is known for its spectacular views of San Francisco and the Bay.
The tower is set back 140 feet from California Street at the extreme southwest corner, with the pavilion at the northeast corner of the site. Fifty percent of the site is a spacious plaza paved in granite that leads to the main entrance, set in a deep arcade created by the setback of the lobby and second floor. Located under the plaza is a retail concourse, a 220-seat auditorium, and parking.